Monday, February 8, 2010

Surprising Light in the Dark Luke 9:28-43

Tranfiguration/ Last Sunday of Epiphany: Year C

Our Gospel reading today, Luke 9:28-43, is an invitation to take a moment for awe and wonder. This is a great story; if you have a chance just sit back and read it a couple of times. Luke tells it pretty plainly with 3 plot twists.

The first surprise: Jesus and his friends headed up to a mountain top to pray. Luke tells us the crowds around Jesus were getting bigger. Jesus and 3 friends, Peter, James, and John went away to pray. An atheist might scoff at prayer to God. Prayer, to an atheist, is talking to yourself or your imaginary friend; but for believers praying is reaching out in hope to the God you've never seen but know by faith.

Jesus and his friends were going to pray. People who pray know its tough when your tired. Jesus' companions were heavy with sleep. Somehow they managed to keep awake. Thankfully, Luke tells us, they did because they saw extraordinary things. In a flash Jesus appearance changed. He was dazzling white. Suddenly Moses and Elijah were there on the mountaintop with Jesus. Peter told Jesus that he would like to build 3 booths for Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. And then a voice called out from a cloud, “This is my Son, my Chosen, listen to him.

The second surprise: Jesus and his friends and everything else was back to normal just as quickly as Jesus had been transformed before them. Moses and Elijah were gone. All that glory and wonder just vanished. Luke includes one more important detail. Jesus' friends were silent about what they'd seen in those days.

The third surprise. The next day Jesus and his friends were back in the crowds. A man came begging Jesus to help. His son was seized by a spirit that caused him to convulse. The boy's father was desperate. He'd asked Jesus followers to help the boy; but they couldn't cast the spirit out. And Jesus answered him first with words of rebuke for the people and then by setting the boy free from the unclean spirit.

Maybe you want to see God on the mountain top and you're living in a deep valley. When you get low its easy to doubt that God cares about you or any individual. Our lives are full of twists and turns; we are surprised by joy and confronted by suffering. May God reveal himself in our lives showing his light and helping us overcome our weaknesses and shames.

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